If You Only Read One Political Column All Month…

….make it this one by my old boss, David Horowitz. It’s lengthy, but worth reading in full and distributing to as many people as possible. Many have tried to diagnose why Republicans lost in 2012 and what they can do to win again, but Horowitz has written the definitive assessment on the subject, and laid out what I believe to be the only likely path to saving the country from liberal ascendance. 
In a nutshell, Horowitz contends that the Democrats won because they know how to manipulate emotion, and Republicans have no idea how to respond. The solution is essentially to recognize what the Democrats really are and develop the fortitude to respond with the appropriate level of bluntness and moral outrage, demonstrating and standing up for the victims of the Left’s policies. Some representative quotes from the piece:
“An exit poll conducted by CNN asked, ‘What is the most important candidate quality to your vote?’ Among the four choices were, ‘Strong Leader,’ ‘Shares Your Values,’ ‘Has A Vision for the Future,’ and ‘Cares about People.’ Romney won the first three by more than 54%. But he lost ‘Cares About People’ by 81-18%. That says it all.”

[…]

“Behind the failures of Republican campaigns lies an attitude that is administrative rather than combative. It focuses on policies rather than politics. It is more comfortable with budgets and pie charts than with the flesh and blood victims of their opponents’ policies. When Republicans do mention victims they are frequently small business owners and other ‘job creators’ – people who in the eyes of most Americans are rich.

“To counter the Democrat attacks on them as defenders of the comfortable and afflicters of the weak, Republicans really have only one answer: This is a misunderstanding. Look at the facts. We’re not that bad. On the infrequent occasions when they actually take the battle to their accusers, Republicans will say: That’s divisive. It’s class warfare.

“Even if voters were able to ‘look at the facts,’ these are not exactly inspiring responses. They are defensive, and they are whiny, and also complicated. Of course elections are divisive – that is their nature. One side gets to win and the other side loses. But even more troublesome is the fact that responses like this require additional information and lengthy explanations to make sense. Appeals to reason are buried in the raucous noise that is electoral politics. Sorting out the truth would be a daunting task, even if voters were left alone to make up their minds.”

[…]

“The only way to confront the emotional campaign that Democrats wage in every election is through an equally emotional campaign that puts the aggressors on the defensive; that attacks them in the same moral language, identifying them as the bad guys, the oppressors of women, children, minorities and the middle class, that takes away from them the moral high ground which they now occupy. You can’t confront an emotionally based moral argument with an intellectual analysis. Yet this is basically and almost exclusively what Republicans do.”

[…]

“Republicans seem to think the way to inspire hope is by offering voters practical solutions, such as Paul Ryan’s plan to balance the budget. Paul Ryan is a smart conservative and the Ryan Plan is probably a good one. But with control only of the House, Republicans had no chance of implementing it when they voted on it. Worse, in the real world of political combat, facing an unscrupulous opposition, a plan offered by a party with no means of implementing it is a self-­inflicted wound. You can’t put the plan into effect to show that it works, and no one besides policy wonks is going to even begin to understand it. All the plan does is provide the spinners with multiple targets to shoot at – something they will do by distorting the specifics and ignoring the plan itself. For virtually all voters, the plan will be so complicated and its details so obscure that it will remain invisible. Only those who already trust its designers will be persuaded that this is a reason to vote for them.”

[…]

“The way for Republicans to show they care about minorities is to defend them against their oppressors and exploiters, which in every major inner city in America without exception are Democrats. Democrats run the welfare and public education systems; they have created the policies that ruin the lives of the recipients of their handouts. It’s time that Republicans started to hold Democrats to account; to put them on the defensive and take away the moral high ground, which they now occupy illegitimately. Government welfare is not just wasteful; it is destructive. The public school system in America’s inner cities is not merely ineffective; it is racist and criminal.”
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Inconvenient Truth: Romney Derangement Syndrome on the Right Helped Obama Win

From the outrages he let Barack Obama get away with to the stunning ineptitude of his campaign team, Mitt Romney holds plenty of blame for last week’s dispiriting presidential election. But he’s not the only one, and before we do something stupid like surrender on immigration in a shortsighted bid to woo Hispanics, the Right needs to have a little chat about another key voting bloc that should have been far easier to hold…but wasn’t, for reasons conservatives seem unwilling to discuss.

The single most shocking detail about the results was the pitiful Republican turnout, with Romney receiving 3 million fewer GOP votes than John McCain and 5 million fewer than George W. Bush — a difference that could have overcome Tuesday’s 3-million-person difference in the popular vote or made up the 333,000 additional votes necessary for an Electoral College win.

Yes, Romney’s conservatism was imperfect. But so was Bush’s. And McCain? He was so liberal that, to keep him away from the nomination and ensure a conservative made it on the ballot, the punditocracy told us we had to rally around…Mitt Romney.

So how could Romney — who, for all his flaws, took most of the right positions, had an appealing background, and didn’t share Bush or McCain’s zeal for amnesty — possibly be less palatable than either of his moderate predecessors? Especially while trying to unseat someone widely considered to be the worst, most left-wing president in US history?

A big part of the answer is because somewhere between GOP presidential primaries, half the Right flip-flopped on Romney, recasting their onetime conservative alternative as the new RINO boogeyman we needed an alternative from, with scores of pundits, activists, and bloggers ranting that an amorphous party “establishment” was trying to force Romney on the base. Yes, politics is a tough business and primaries are the place for aggressively vetting our candidates, but far too many of our own crossed the line from “Romney is weak in area x” to “Romney is our enemy.”

Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said they’d focus on congressional races because Romney wasn’t worth their members’ excitement. Sen. Rick Santorum suggested Romney might not be different enough from Obama to bother changing presidents. Talk radio host Mark Levin excoriated Romney daily, calling him a corporatist of questionable character who couldn’t be supported in the primary without compromising all of one’s principles. Blogger Dan Riehl considered organizing conservatives to oppose Romney in the general election. Free Republic banned all Romney supporters as “enemies of the Constitution.” Blogger John Hawkins warned that supporting Romney would require conservatives to “sell our souls.” RedState.com waged an all-out war against Romney and his sympathizers, the most hysterical examples of which being Erick Erickson’s claim that nominating the bad Mormon would kill conservatism and Thomas Crown’s accusation that National Review “alienated” itself from the conservative movement by preferring Romney to the alternatives. Conservative stalwarts like Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan got torn apart as phonies in popular comment sections for backing Romney. And last month, Personhood USA used an unfair spin on Romney’s words as evidence that he was “insisting on maintaining the status quo of abortion on demand.”

Fast-forward to Election Day, and 5 million Republican voters decide to stay home.

Gee, who could have guessed? (I mean, besides me.)

Again, we shouldn’t completely absolve Romney of responsibility. As the candidate, it was his job to assure the base he could walk the walk. Nor should Romney’s shortcomings have gone ignored or unchallenged during the primary.

But with so many influential conservative voices doing everything they could to convince their audiences that Romney was just Diet Obama and that he posed an existential threat to their very philosophy, is it any wonder that so many of them decided not to vote? How is any post-primary coalescing supposed to fully heal divisions that deep? How are Republican candidates supposed to endure two-front wars against Democrats and their own base?

Rather than protect the integrity of the Republican ticket, Levin, Erickson, Perkins, and company served as useful idiots for the Left, dividing conservatives enough for a weak incumbent with indefensible ideas and hated policies to keep power for another four years. And now we’re all going to suffer for it.

It goes without saying that for 2016, we’ll need to find a candidate with bolder instincts, a deeper affinity for conservatism, and greater skill in articulating it. But by the time his own failings and impurities come to light, hopefully Obama’s second term will have taught our Purity Police that a little perspective can make a world of difference.

The Obama Administration in Their Own Words

Politics is a messy, convoluted affair, and understanding its many debates and controversies usually requires steady news consumption, a working knowledge of dueling philosophies, and familiarity with a daunting array of statistics, laws, background, and mechanics that just don’t lend themselves to 5-second sound bites and 30-second TV spots.

But often, the offensiveness, idiocy, and hypocrisy of politicians’ words speak for themselves, and homework isn’t necessary for the average American to see how wrong they really are. The Obama Administration has many, many such quotes just waiting to scare voters into the waiting arms of Mitt Romney…if only Team Romney would have the good sense to use them.

If I were running Mitt’s campaign, one of the many things I’d do differently would be to take the below quotes (many of which come from John Hawkins’ excellent list), develop TV ads based around some of them, and list the rest in full-page newspaper ads, with one simple message:

“They don’t respect your values, your freedoms, your judgment, your lifestyles, your struggles, or your country. It’s time for leaders who do. Romney-Ryan 2012.”

Driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back – $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.” – Barack Obama

“The way I think about it is this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft, and we didn’t have that same competitive edge we needed over the last couple of decades.” – Barack Obama

“We’ve lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam and unleashed all the potential in this country.” – Barack Obama

“I don’t believe it is possible to transcend race in this country.” – Barack Obama

“White folks’ greed runs a world in need.” – Barack Obama, quoting sentiments candidate Obama claimed to have never heard Rev. Jeremiah Wright express

“After my election I have more flexibility.” – Barack Obama, to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them […] And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” – Barack Obama

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times…and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.” – Barack Obama

Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” – Barack Obama

“Whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower.” – Barack Obama

I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to be potentially some transition process.” – Barack Obama

“Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.” – Barack Obama, to a woman whose mother was initially denied a pacemaker

“I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something: there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” – Barack Obama

“I do think that at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” – Barack Obama

“I actually believe in redistribution.” – Barack Obama

“We are God’s partners in matters of life and death.” – Barack Obama

“Answering that question [when babies get human rights] with specificity is above my pay grade.” – Barack Obama

I’ve got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” – Barack Obama

In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” – Barack Obama

“‘You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is yes, that’s what I’m telling you.” – Joe Biden

“You share a similar concern here in China. You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand – I’m not second-guessing – of one child per family [through forced sterilization and abortion].” – Joe Biden

Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy.” – Joe Biden

In things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.” – Attorney General Eric Holder

“Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe.” – Energy Secretary Stephen Chu

“We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.” – Energy Secretary Stephen Chu

“The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act.” – Energy Secretary Stephen Chu

“It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption, depending on the society.” – Science Czar John Holdren

“Sounds like a dumb law…but I think that the question of whether it’s a dumb law is different from the question of whether it’s constitutional, and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they’re senseless.” – Justice Elena Kagan, on whether Congress has the power to force people to eat vegetables

America is “just downright mean.” – Michelle Obama

“For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country.” – Michelle Obama

“Sometimes it’s easier to hold on to your stereotypes and misconceptions. It makes you feel justified in your own ignorance. That’s America.” – Michelle Obama

“What I notice about men, all men, is that their order is me, my family, God is in there somewhere, but me is first.” – Michelle Obama

Understanding Redistribution and Class Warfare in One Chart

David French includes the above chart in his excellent post on America’s dependency problem. It illustrates the true breakdown of federal income taxes by income level more intuitively than anything I’ve seen in recent memory. Everyone should spread it on their social networks and save a copy to their computers, phones, iPods, Kindles, etc. to keep on hand for sharing with friends who don’t know the facts. Because apparently the RNC and the Romney Campaign – the guys with money and ad space – can’t be bothered to produce something so useful themselves and get it out there…

A Vital Healthcare Roadmap for Mitt Romney

Though constitutionally indefensible, Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision to save ObamaCare might prove to be a blessing in disguise. By guaranteeing that the intensely unpopular law stays relevant through November, the ruling could ultimately save the Constitution by securing Barack Obama’s electoral defeat.
That is, if Mitt Romney seizes the opportunity.
Therein lies the problem: so far, Team Romney has played it dangerously safe, campaigning on a one-note economic message that has frustrated many of his supporters into asking him, as the Weekly Standard’sBill Kristol did on July 5, “to get off autopilot and actually think about the race he’s running.”
The problem is amplified on healthcare. Throughout the primary, conservative activists excoriated Romney for the mandate-based plan he enacted in Massachusetts, decrying it as statism and fearing it would make Romney a hypocrite in attacking ObamaCare, leaving the campaign terrified of getting specific enough to invite comparisons of the two laws.
But that caution isn’t just excessive—it’s suicidal. As dissatisfied as voters are with the status quo, they know there’s more to it than the economy. And the case against the dangers of Obama’s second term is fatally incomplete without ObamaCare.
Contrary to the wisdom of overpaid GOP strategists, Mitt Romney can forcefully, comprehensively make that case—and contrary to the hysterics of the Anybody-But-Mitt crowd, he can do it without flip-flopping on RomneyCare.
First, stress that ObamaCare is full of outrages that have no parallel in RomneyCare. For instance, the Congressional Research Service says it’s impossible to count how many new agencies and boards the law creates, making their potential harm unknowable and their accountability impossible. Hammer the scandalous irresponsibility of Democrats inflicting on us something noneofthemevenread, much less understand. Note that the Congressional Budget Office now says the whole shebang is now projected to cost anywhere from $1.76 trillion to $2.6 trillion over the next decade—considerably higher than its original $900 billion price tag. Think that’ll help our $15+ trillion debt, America?
Second, sound the alarm on how ObamaCare will worsen healthcare. Trumpet the results of surveys like the one Jackson Healthcare releasedin June, which found that 70% of doctors don’t think it’ll control costs, 61% doubt it’ll improve the quality of care, and 66% expect it to take decisions out of physicians’ hands; or the one the Doctor Patient Medical Association releasedin July finding that ObamaCare has led 83% of American doctors to consider quitting. Point out that it makes completely dropping insurance the most affordable option for many employers. Explain how it makes insurance costlier to micromanage what services plans must cover.
Third, debunk the lie that Romney and Obama’s healthcare records are equivalent. For example, Romney’s proposal would only have required Massachusetts residents to purchase basic catastrophic insurance, to offset the cost of their federally-guaranteed right to emergency care, and would not have included any employer mandate—vastly different from ObamaCare’s much broader (and therefore far pricier) mandate, which imposes on employer and employee alike broader plans covering things like birth control, maternity care, and drug abuse treatment. It was Massachusetts’ 85% Democrat legislature, overriding Romney’s vetoes, which pushed RomneyCare leftward on these points (Romney also unsuccessfully vetoed the final bill’s coverage for non-citizens and a new bureaucracy it created, the Public Health Council).
Finally, point out the biggest difference of all: while Romney was merely out to insure the uninsured, Obama sees ObamaCare as one step on the longer road to a full-blown single-payer system. Demand the president explain what he meant when he said, “I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to be potentially some transition process.” Ask how that squares with “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”
Rather than a liability, the true story of RomneyCare contrasts sharply with ObamaCare and illustrates the formidable expertise Mitt Romney would bring to healthcare reform as president. But only Romney can tell it.

ObamaCare: Liberty Lost the Battle, But the War’s More Winnable Than Ever

Conservatives were right about John Roberts.
Not this year, obviously: nobody expected the Chief Justice to fall for the White House’s most laughable justification of ObamaCare’s individual mandate. But we were right in 2005, when George W. Bush nominated the blank-slate jurist to the Supreme Court. Ann Coulter warned us that “stealth nominees have never turned out to be a pleasant surprise for conservatives.” I’ve previously voiced my fear that Roberts worships at the altar of stare decisis.
Despite Roberts’ reasoning, the mandate is manifestly nota tax. As the bill’s text and legislative history clearly show, it’s a penalty expressly justified as a regulation of interstate commerce. Barack Obama himself emphatically denied that it was a tax. Hell, the Court itself acknowledged it’s not a tax—for the purpose of ruling on a different part of ObamaCare. As Anthony Kennedy’s dissenting opinion says, “to say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it.” (To say nothing of the real elephant in the room: even if it was a tax, it still wouldn’t fall under enumerated powers.)
Jay Cost looks on the bright side: the Court rejected the mandate’s Commerce and Necessary & Proper Clause rationales, which sets valuable precedent. They also affirmed that states can’t be denied Medicaid funds for noncompliance.
That’s all well and good…but is one constitutional provision really protected when government can get away with the same thing by simply calling it something else? Brent Bozell is right: “there will be no rehabilitating” of John Roberts’ new image “as a traitor to his philosophy.” Thanks, Dubya!
Make no mistake: today was a defeat for constitutional fidelity, individual liberty, limited government, and true healthcare reform. But the American people may yet have the last laugh.
The general public deeply, deeply opposes ObamaCare, and doctors keep reaffirming that it’ll make American healthcare worse. The Court just guaranteed that a clear loser for Obama will remain a prominent issue throughout the rest of the campaign. We’re already seeing signs that conservatives are giving Mitt Romney a much-needed enthusiasm boost.
Beyond that, the ruling added two brand-new wrinkles to the narrative, neither of which works to Team Obama’s benefit. First, the mandate can now be characterized as a tax increase, an argument Sen. Marco Rubio is already expertly deploying. Second, Obama now has a new circle to square: were you lying about the mandate not being a tax then, or are you lying now?
Hopefully Romney will incorporate these details into his rhetoric sooner rather than later (his pre-scripted reaction to the ruling desperately needs a tune-up). Either way, the bottom line is that it’s more important than ever for conservatives to dedicating ourselves to keeping the House, retaking the Senate, and—and here’s the part some conservatives still want to suicidally ignore—retaking the White House. Only by electing Mitt Romneycan we hope to repeal ObamaCare and appoint justices with greater respect for the Constitution.
Let’s get to work.

Oh, Great: Disgruntled Anti-Romney Holdouts Think 1 Branch of Government Is Enough to Save America

At least two grassroots conservative leaders are still lukewarm about Mitt Romney:

“The tea party is not going to coalesce around Romney,” Judson Phillips told The Daily Caller on Thursday. “Most of us will vote for Romney, but we will not be out there with signs for him or in his campaign.”

Phillips said that surveys conducted on the Tea Party Nation website have shown that about 25 percent of tea party activists say they won’t vote for Romney in the general election […] 
“While that number will change as we get closer to the election, Romney has a huge problem with the conservative base of the GOP,” Phillips said. “He had better do something about that ASAP or he won’t have to worry about that moving to the middle nonsense. Without the GOP base, he is a lost cause.”
“Most of us,” he added, “are focusing on Senate and House races now.”
Another conservative leader, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, struck a similar note after former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum dropped out of the presidential race this week.
“It’s difficult for us to back a candidate our constituents don’t believe in and aren’t excited about,” Perkins told CNN, suggesting that social conservatives will instead focus their efforts on helping Republicans win control of the U.S. Senate in 2012.
I would like to remind Mr. Phillips and Mr. Perkins of something called the veto. It lets presidents kill legislation they don’t like, even if a majority of Congress voted yes. Super-majorities of both the House and Senate are required to overcome a veto. I hope as much as anyone that Republicans keep the House and retake the Senate, but it’s far from guaranteed, with GOP super-majorities in both chambers even less so.
I would like to remind Mr. Phillips and Mr. Perkins that the president has much more autonomy in foreign policy and national defense than in domestic policy. While Congress has a certain degree of oversight, it can’t force him to act against Iran if necessary. It can’t force him to pursue missile defense. It can’t force him to rebuild the military. It can’t force him to secure the border.
I would like to remind Mr. Phillips and Mr. Perkins that there still exists in America a massive regulatory and administrative apparatus through which the president can sidestep Congress entirely and implement much of his policy vision.
I would like to remind Mr. Phillips and Mr. Perkins that a Republican Senate can’t confirm good judges if a Republican president isn’t there to nominate them.
Of course Romney needs to work to reassure conservatives. But last time I checked, you two are leaders, too. Where’s your responsibility to remind your members of Romney’s positives, Obama’s negatives, and the stakes of this election? What’s the purpose of conservative grassroots organizations: to defeat the Left’s vision for America, or to indulge temper tantrums that some of their members didn’t get their way?